PHILOSOPHY of DECONSTRUCTIVE ARCHITECTURE

Falkestrasse

Office Extension, Falkestrasse, at Vienna, Austria by Coop Himmelblau (1988-89)

Source : http://www.coop-himmelblau.at/

We often relate Deconstructive Architecture with the works of world famous architects like Frank Gehry, Vlado Milunić, Zaha Hadid, Coop Himmelb(l)au, Peter Eisenman, Bernard Tschumi, Rem Koolhaas and Daniel Libeskind.

But, before labeling an Architect as ‘Deconstructive’, let us understand the Philosophy behind Deconstructive Architecture!

As is admitted by its practitioners, Deconstructive Architecture aims to take form apart — to degrade connections, symmetries, and coherence. This is exactly the opposite of self-organization in complex systems, a process which builds internal networks via connectivity. Extra binding energy is required to hold components together. Natural morphogenesis unites matter, establishing multiple connections on different scales and increasing the system’s overall coherence; whereas deconstruction undoes all of this, mimicking the decay and disintegration of form. For this reason, deconstructivist buildings resemble the severe structural damage such as dislocation, internal tearing and melting suffered after a hurricane, earthquake, internal explosion, fire, or nuclear war!

 “This is an architecture of disruption, dislocation, deflection, deviation and distortion, rather than of demolition, dismantling, decay, decomposition, or disintegration. It displays the structure instead of destroying it.”

DECONSTRUCTIVE ARCHITECTURE

Extension to Denver Arts Museum, Denver by Daniel Libeskind (2003-06)

Source : http://libeskind.com/

An impurity, or deviation, from the structural order is regarded as opposing or rather, threatening the former values of harmony, unity and stability. This deviation is therefore insulated, isolated, from the structure, and can thus be regarded as ornament. The qualities of harmony, unity and stability arise from the geometry of purity, and formal composition. The combining of such pure geometrical forms follow compositional rules which do not allow one form to conflict with another. The overall harmony is maintained. But with Deconstructivism, form is no longer pure. It has become contaminated by some sort of ‘alien’.

“The alien is an outgrowth of the very form that it violates; the form distorts yet does not destroy itself.”

Deconstructing Deconstructivist Architecture: A study on the mysterious ‘Deconstruction’ Architectural Style

Walt_Disney_concert_hall

Walt Disney concert hall, Los Angeles, California

Source : http://www.discoverlosangeles.com/

Deconstruction is not the taking apart of constructions. The nature of the word suggests a reversal of construction. Thus architecture which appears to take apart a structure, by simply breaking an object, has been called Deconstructive. Deconstruction is not demolition, or dissimulation, which suggests a total breakdown. The flaws, or ‘contamination’, do not lead to the collapse of the structure. Deconstruction, according to Wigley, is a challenging of the values of harmony, unity and stability. It proposes a new view of structure; that the flaws are intrinsic to the structure, and thus cannot be removed. The flaws are structural.

A Deconstructive architect is therefore not one who dismantles buildings, but one who locates the inherent dilemmas within buildings!!

Few buildings exhibiting Deconstructive Architecture …

 

I hope this article has clarified the fundamentals of Deconstructive Architecture. Click on this link to read further on Deconstructive Architecture.

 

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8 thoughts on “PHILOSOPHY of DECONSTRUCTIVE ARCHITECTURE

  1. John Gil Reply

    Amit hello and thanks for making the effort to submit this interesting topic. Am I your first commenter? You might be interested to know that 23 years ago during grad school I took a design studio with peter Eisenman and Jeff Kipnis as well took a corresponding theory course with Sanford Quinter each whom addressed and practiced cutting edge ‘Decon’ in the early 90’s theoretically including the early work of Eisenman’s built work. I found them all to be exceptional teachers.

    I could write a short book about the content and implications of that studio alone but I wanted to make a poignant point to leave for for thought and perhaps open a broader discussion.

    I am deeply interested and devoted to the pursuit of sources, rather than processes and facts alone. Having said that, what was unique about this work were the goals, inspirations and principles. Peter spoke of the ‘Smell of Architecture’ and various terms that described indirect design with an emphasis upon ‘Authorless’ expression. The justification for this mode of thinking was explained by it’s roots in French Deconstructive literature and the work of Jacques Derrida. This led to intensive studies into language itself including SEMIOTICS which analyzed and afforded writers the freedom to interfere with the meaning, rhythm and grammars of a given text in order to discover hidden or latent meaning in the text or to derive present moment associations that these rearrangements would reveal. Intentional arbitrariness seems to sum up the intent.

    Several years later I was reading a short book regarding the religious principles of the Jewish faith and low and behold, the exact same sensibilities were described there. Given that all of these professors were Jewish, and the Deconstructivists movement was mostly practiced by Jewish intellectuals, each whom openly discussed their sessions, as part of the design studio with psychologists, I suspected there was a connection.

    Very briefly stated, it became clear that Decon is little more than an attempt to reveal from within an abstract language the possibility of an indirect reference and ultimately to externalize emotion and reveal the Natural Human in our true state of mobility, vitality and and constant change. How to build a verb in other words? What does emotion look like in other words? How may our thought processes give form to the the ‘Presence of Absence’, in other words?

    An unstated and unwritten goal as well was to give geometrical structure to a belief system that disallows and codifies the limits of direct action, while acting directly to create those indirect actions paradoxically, as reverence to God and faith though language and geometry.

    Lastly Deconstruction walks a fine line between faith and insanity. There is nothing in Nature that is so profoundly fragmented therefore is this an accurate depiction of the Human condition? Possible. The latter members of this group such a Frank Ghery and Zaha Hadid were in fact not Deconstructivists but ‘gesturists’ seeking only to contradict the urban grid and to inspire toleration of intuition and subjectivity in the overly intellectual practice of academic architecture. They did not follow the Philosophy of Deconstruction as far as I know.

    • amitmurao Post authorReply

      Dear John,

      Thanks for your comment. I am really excited to know that you had the opportunity to work with one of my favorite architects of all time!

      I will definitely touch base with you to discuss further about your perspective on Deconstructive Architecture.

  2. John Gil Reply

    Amit hi, I did not receive an email that you responded to my comment. You might want to check and see if that feature is working.

    Regards, John

  3. Billy Aldino Reply

    please help me.

    Who deconstruction figures other than 7 figures in the exhibition. And what is his work
    * Help me, for my study please

  4. Priya Reply

    Hi Amit,

    Thank you so much for the information. It has been very helpful.
    I’m a Final year student and deeply interested in the Deconstructivist philosophy.
    I’m looking for a thesis topic in which I could apply the Deconstructivist philosophy. It would be of great help if you could guide me in selecting a topic for the same.

    • amitmurao Post authorReply

      Hi Priya,

      Thank you for your appreciation!

      I am glad that you are interested in Deconstructivist Architectural Style for your thesis. You may connect with me over LinkedIn for faster communication regarding your thesis topic (https://in.linkedin.com/in/amitmurao). Moreover, you may consider reading my book on ‘Deconstructing Deconstructivist Architecture: A study on the mysterious ‘Deconstruction’ Architectural Style’ by clicking on the following link: http://amzn.to/2vbiTYP

  5. Pingback: Archi-Quiz: Can You Identify These Buildings From Their Architectural Models? | amit murao

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